Greetings to all the members of the IOHA from my new position within the organization. Until now, I have been vice-president and editor of this Bulletin along with Don Ritchie, an excellent collaborator and tireless worker.
The XV International Oral History Conference held in Mexico from 23-26 September 2008 was a success from various perspectives. Certainly, the large number of participants from every continent that came to the city of Guadalajara created an exciting atmosphere. In one the university’s beautiful buildings, Dr. Eugenia Meyer gave the interesting inaugural keynote address on “The End of Memory” and reminded us, among other things, about the importance of understanding the impact that oral interviews have on us as researchers.
Importantly, the interest expressed towards sessions dedicated to discussing a wide variety of research areas must be highlighted. Contributions ranged from memory and gender to memories of war and violence in the world. Debates took place on oral history methodology and its relation with images the teaching of history. All said, there were sixty-two sessions and five panels, making a enormous body of intellectual work that could only have been managed by through the fantastic work of the conference’s local organizing committee, led by Ana María de la O Castellanos and Mario Camarena who was assisted by the enthusiastic students of the University of Guadalajara.
The conference in Guadalajara has also helped our goal of consolidating bilingualism within the IOHA. Sessions with simultaneous translation increased and, for the first time, classes and workshops were given in S¬panish and English.
During the Association’s general assembly on 25 September the new IOHA Council was also elected. It consists of two vice-presidents, Antonio Montenegro (Brazil) and Sean Field (South Africa) who bring their experience as former council members and my predecessor, Alistair Thompson (Australia) who will continue participating in o the IOHA through the contribution of his great organizational skills and international experience. The remaining council and regional representatives are: Africa: Radikobo Ntsimane (South Africa); South America: Pablo Pozzi (Argentina); Asia: Tineke Jansen (Reino Unido/China); Europa: Mirek Vanek (Czechia) and Miren Llona (Spain) North America: Calinda Lee and Juan Gutiérrez (Mexico/United States) and Alexander Freund (Canada) Oceania: Megan Hutching (New Zealand), who is also the the Council’s secretary. Our treasurer continues to be the irreplaceable Almut Leh (Alemania). Two other important ex-oficio council members are María R. Valladares, the website developer and Christopher Paetzold, the translations coordinator.
All council members and myself as president, are available to association members. To facilitate easier and more accessible communication, we have created a new web page which we hope will help develop greater interaction and collaboration between ourselves. We hope that members will participate in debates as well as send in recordings and photos. To make this possible, we have renovated and expanded the features on the website and have created a specific working group to deal with this task.
Since the turn of the century, the IOHA has become more visible on an international level, thanks to new technologies, particularly the creation of a bilingual website hosted in the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This has been possible over these past years thanks to the selfless dedication given by the former IOHA president, Marieta de Moraes. This page has also allowed us to develop this electronic bulletin in Spanish and English which has been-and can continue to be-a key instrument to spread information about projects, oral archives and the work of oral history associations in a diverse range of places around the world.
We also strive for the IOHA to become better known amongst social science researchers. It is our hope that we can work with them to publicize their efforts through organizing subject-based research networks and through the creation of forums focused on debating theoretical or methodological issues.
Another fundamental task for the new council will be to successfully organize the recently approved IOHA conference that will take place in Prague in 2010. Taking advantage of this conference’s location in the heart of Europe we should-with the help of the conference organizing committee in the Czech Republic-make an effort to contact and offer membership to the widest range of oral history researchers from the new European Union member states and the republics that emerged from the former Soviet Union such as the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Georgia, etc.
I believe that we have a great deal of work ahead of us that requires the enthusiasm of everyone. Thank you for you confidence and support.
Pilar Domínguez [email protected]